Don’t just wait for time to go by — TIME has NOTHING to do with healing your heartbreak and getting over your ex. You MUST change your thoughts. All the time in the world could go by and if you haven’t changed your thinking, your feelings won’t change. That’s why a year after my breakup even though I did all the things (meditate, travel, have new experiences, stayed busy, etc.) but I still felt angry and resentful because I hadn’t changed my thoughts about my ex moving on so quickly. I had made it mean that “he never loved me” because how could you love someone and move on so quickly? When I made it mean that I felt unloved and when I felt unloved I would wallow, cry, complain, talk about him all the time and that led to a result of me not loving myself. It wasn’t until I questioned that belief pattern and realized, he for sure loved me, you don’t stay with someone that long and never have any love towards them. I shifted my thinking from “he never loved me” to “he did the best he could” which created compassion and when I felt that way I showed up that way and created the result of me doing the best I could. It was magic. It took a moment for me to shift that thinking, and get over my ex.
As part of our series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Survive And Thrive After A Divorce Or Breakup”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Breakup Coach Dorothy.
She outlines the steps to get over your ex without it “just taking time”. She has combined her background in psychology with her life coach certification tools to provide actionable insights so that you’re not only learning the why but you’re learning the HOW to getting over your ex.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to ‘get to know you’. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?
I grew up in a small town in northern Minnesota, next to Canada. My father was a psychologist and my mom was a nurse. I had an amazing childhood and left for Florida for my undergraduate career before heading to Kentucky for my graduate degree in I/O Psychology. I currently reside in Boston, MA working remotely and for myself as Breakup Coach Dorothy.
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
In 2016 I went through the end of a 6 and a half year relationship that was ended via the telephone while away on a work trip. When I came back to our home to pick up my things, they were piled in the front room and I was told by our neighbor that he had another girl staying at the house the whole time.
Not only was I grieving my best friend, lover, and partner who was still alive but I was grieving the life I had imagined and built-in my mind. I spent an entire year seething in anger and resentment about him leaving and dating someone so soon after the end of our long-term relationship. I had googled everything “how to get over your ex” “how to forgive and let go” “how to move on”. I did everything the internet told me to do but none of it worked. A year later I was still suffering.
It wasn’t until I was introduced to life coaching and the tools within it that I realized that 1) TIME had NOTHING to do with getting over my ex and 2) he wasn’t creating my pain, I was and 3) the distractions I had were actually making it worse, not helping.
When I learned the secret to healing my heart, forgiving and letting go, and truly moving on with my life, I couldn’t keep it from everyone else. I knew I needed to share it with the world. That’s when I made it my mission to help people heal their hearts so they could go on and help heal the world in their own unique ways.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
My clients getting over their ex in 3 months or less is the most interesting thing that has happened to me in my career as a breakup coach.
All we hear is that “it’s just going to take time to heal” and it’s completely wrong and incorrect.
My clients get over their ex sometimes in as little as 5 weeks and that’s because it has nothing to do with time, but it has to do with what they are making the breakup mean about them. It’s wild to me how quickly someone can transform their breakup. It takes a moment to make the shift.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I think the funniest mistake I’ve made since starting Breakup Coach Dorothy was not starting a podcast sooner. The How to Get Over Your Ex podcast is such an amazing tool for my bravehearts. Ever since my breakup I knew I wanted to create it but I waited almost a year into my business before deciding to go for it.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?
“This is happening FOR me not TO me”
This is the motto of everything I teach my clients. My breakup happened FOR me not TO me. It’s our job to find out how and why. The quicker you can do that the quicker you’ll be over your ex and moving on with your life.
Often times we wait for time to go by and then we can look back and be like “OH that’s why that happened” vs deciding now that it for sure happened for a reason and we will create the why. That’s freedom from your breakup/divorce vs waiting around to see what happens.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
My Get Over Your Ex in 3 months or less group program has been underway, we are 2 groups in and it’s been so amazing.
Community and social dynamics after a breakup are so supportive to healing. I find that my group clients get bigger, better and faster results than my 1:1 clients because of the added component of the group, therefor I continue to grow that part of my business through program enhancements and ensure I make it super simple and clear.
Getting over your ex is simple:
- Feel your feelings
- Determine your breakup story
- Focus on your future
It doesn’t have to be something “hard” or “complex”, it’s important to me that my clients have tangible next steps to get over their ex so they can stop obsessing over what he/she did and start obsessing over how awesome their own life is regardless of who’s in it or not.
Ok. Thank you for that. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell us a bit about your experience going through a divorce, or helping someone who was going through a divorce? What did you learn about yourself during and after the experience? Do you feel comfortable sharing a story?
I really shared my story above. The main thing I learned about myself was that I was creating my pain, not him. It was my thoughts about the breakup and what I was making it mean that was so painful not anything he said or did. I had no idea that our thoughts created our feelings. I thought other people were responsible for how I felt, when I learned emotional maturity and was able to take responsibility for how I felt ALWAYS, it changed my entire life.
Secondly, I learned that forgiveness was actually for me, not him. Me letting go and forgiving him for what he had done, helped me not him. I wasn’t righting his wrong or saying I agreed with what he did, I just got to let go of the anger and resentment for my sake, not his.
Lastly, the main thing I learned after that breakup was that everything happened FOR me not to me. There was a reason for the tragedy in my life and it’s helped me approach all unfortunate events in my life in a new way. Knowing that everything happens for me not to me, I’m able to find the opportunity in EVERYTHING which as served me so well in life.
In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes people make after they go through a divorce? What can be done to avoid that?
Distracting yourself or staying busy — choosing to distract from your pain or stay busy so you don’t have to think about it or avoid your pain is the worst thing you could do for yourself. It’s the opposite of learning to feel your emotions and process through the pain so that it doesn’t pop up later in future relationships and create the same patterns in your life.
And staying in victim mode. It can be really hard to pull yourself out of blaming and “it shouldn’t be that way” mentalities but it’s so imperative to healing from the inside out.
The longer I blamed him for my current life experience the longer I lived in anger and resentment which not only didn’t serve me, it didn’t serve anyone around me or the relationship that I had created after the breakup. I found myself showing up in similar ways, creating fights out of nothing, and getting jealous for no reason. I didn’t change, I just covered up my emotions and blamed my ex for it all. That didn’t solve anything for almost a year after the breakup.
Learning to take responsibility for how I felt changed my life. I let go of the anger and resentment and no longer blamed my ex but actually found gratitude for him.
People generally label “divorce” as being “negative”. And yes, while there are downsides, there can also be a lot of positive that comes out of it as well. What would you say that they are? Can you share an example or share a story?
So many upsides to breakups and divorce, here are a few opportunities on the other side of heartbreak from myself and my clients:
- LOVE real love, self-love
- No longer compromising what you really want in life
- New relationships, rekindled relationships
- Personal growth
- Healed wounds
- Healed trauma
- More money
- More opportunities in career/job
- Internal security and stability
- New businesses
- New love
- Confidence and certainty in themselves
- Purpose and passion
- And so so much more
Some people are scared to ‘get back out there’ and date again after being with their former spouse for many years and hearing dating horror stories. What would you say to motivate someone to get back out there and start a new beginning?
What are the success stories? What are the stories that inspire people and get them giddy in excitement for what’s possible? I’d ask them to find the answers to those questions.
What is the one thing people going through a divorce should be open to changing?
Their breakup story. Whatever they’ve been telling themselves and other people about their breakup/divorce must leave them feeling inspired and empowered. If you’ve been telling yourself a story that feels defeating, victimized and discouraging you will absolutely not be showing up in the world in a way that creates results you love. Learning to rewrite and retell that story in a way that leaves you feeling empowered and like the hero of your own life will lead to actions/behaviors that create the results you actually want in your life, like being over your ex and the divorce, no longer thinking/obsessing over that other person, moved on and healed.
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. If you had a close friend come to you for advice after a divorce, what are 5 things you would advise in order to survive and thrive after the divorce? Can you please give a story or example for each?
- Take responsibility for your own emotions — no one makes you feel a certain way. No matter what he/she said or do you’re only feeling the way you’re feeling because of your thoughts about it. For example, if my current partner came to me and said “Dorothy I love you” I don’t feel love because he said those words, I feel love because of my thoughts about those words from that person. If he came to you and said the same thing, you might feel confused or concerned because you’d have very different thoughts and feelings about the same exact circumstance.
- Don’t just wait for time to go by — TIME has NOTHING to do with healing your heartbreak and getting over your ex. You MUST change your thoughts. All the time in the world could go by and if you haven’t changed your thinking, your feelings won’t change. That’s why a year after my breakup even though I did all the things (meditate, travel, have new experiences, stayed busy, etc.) but I still felt angry and resentful because I hadn’t changed my thoughts about my ex moving on so quickly. I had made it mean that “he never loved me” because how could you love someone and move on so quickly? When I made it mean that I felt unloved and when I felt unloved I would wallow, cry, complain, talk about him all the time and that led to a result of me not loving myself. It wasn’t until I questioned that belief pattern and realized, he for sure loved me, you don’t stay with someone that long and never have any love towards them. I shifted my thinking from “he never loved me” to “he did the best he could” which created compassion and when I felt that way I showed up that way and created the result of me doing the best I could. It was magic. It took a moment for me to shift that thinking, and get over my ex.
- Don’t distract yourself, stay busy or take it day by day — that is all WRONG. Sit with your thoughts, become aware of the story you’ve got playing in your head. Do the thought management, hire a coach, a therapist anyone who is willing to help you rewrite and debunk all the messy beliefs that are holding you back in life. It’s so beyond worth it.
- Learn to feel your feelings — don’t distract from your feelings, or resist/avoid them. Learn to get comfortable feeling all of your emotions without reacting to them. They are simply sensations in your body. There is no reason to run from them. Yes, they are uncomfortable but if you don’t learn how to feel an emotion and not react to it, you’ll always be at the effect of your emotions. In the How to Get Over Your Ex podcast episode #22 I talk about the grief bubble which is a very specific way of feeling your feelings in a productive way that yields results you’ll actually want to keep in your life.
- Focus on your future and the opportunities in your breakup — there are so many amazing things about breakups and divorce. Society expects you to be sad and feel terrible but what if you didn’t? What if you chose to found all the ways this breakup/divorce happened FOR you not TO you?! What if you used it to propel your life forward and create a life BETTER than the one you thought you had with your ex?
The stress of a divorce can take a toll on both one’s mental and emotional health. In your opinion or experience, what are a few things people going through a divorce can do to alleviate this pain and anguish?
Take responsibility for the stress. Why are you feeling stress? What are the thoughts about the situation that are creating the feelings of stress? Manage your mind, manage your thinking. Your thoughts are the ONLY part of a divorce/breakup that you’re in control of, why not manage that to your fullest to generate emotions that serve you, like relief?
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources related to this topic that you would recommend to our readers?
Podcast — How to Get Over Your Ex: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/how-to-get-over-your-ex/id1484403141
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
My mission in life is to help my bravehearts heal their hearts so they can go on to help heal the world in their own unique ways. This is the movement I’m building and that I believe in. Because a healed heart means healthier relationships with ourselves, which means healthier romantic relationships and relationships in general. What would the world look like if we all took responsibility for how we felt?
We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Thank you for these great insights and for the time you spent with this interview. We wish you only continued success!